Lib Dems must punch above our weight…but beware a knock-out blow!

April 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

Canadian Liberal MP Justin Trudeau celebrates after winning a charity boxing match

I wonder if you, like me, follow Canadian politics and, especially, the fortunes of The Liberal Party of Canada?

If you don’t then you probably won’t be aware that recent years has sadly seen a decline in its fortunes.

For most of the last Century, the Canadian Liberals were that country’s Government.

However, the past few years have not been kind for them and in Canada’s last General Election, held in May last year, it returned just 34 seats in the House of Commons…losing, for the first time, it’s place as being either the Government or the Official Opposition.

Rather reminiscently of the situation here, The Liberals are now Canada’s third party.

They are currently led by Interim Leader Bob Rae MP, following the resignation of previous head honcho Michael Ignatieff after the disastrous election result.

There’s lots of talk that when the contest for the next Leader takes place (which, for some reason I’m yet to quite understand, won’t be until next year), the torch will pass a generation to 40-year old Justin Trudeau MP.

Mr Trudeau is the son of legendery former Liberal Leader and Canadian Prime Minister, the late Pierre Trudeau, (who was PM from 1968 to 1979.)

Being the son of a former Prime Minister already gives him a spotlight, but Mr Trudeau also has good looks and relative youth to go with his strong political lineage.

Indeed, he recently showed off his physical prowess and youthful male virility in a charity boxing match.

He took on and beat Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau.

This rather puts Tony Blair’s beating aged European leaders when cycling at an international summit a few years ago in the shade!

If he does become his Party’s next leader I’m sure Mr Trudeau will realise that as his Party no longer has the Parliamentary strength it once did, it must find new, innovative ways to reach out to the electorate.

It must literally punch above its weight.

It’s something we Lib Dems here in Britain have been doing for many long years and, especially, since entering into Government.

With 57 MP’s we are clearly dwarfed, in terms of Parliamentary numbers, by Labour and the Conservatives.

But, we Lib Dems are nothing if not fighters, both in community politics at a local level and at Westminster.

We’ve managed to get in the occasional powerful jab…whether it be raising the lower end tax rate or re-linking pensions to earnings…but we need to be very aware that one of our larger rivals may be ready to knock us out with a killer punch.

One such shot across our bows could well be the proposed changes in terms of how Government and related agencies can snoop on our electronic communications.

We must resist such illiberal moves at all costs.

For if we don’t, we’ll not only become a less liberal and free country…as a Party we’ll lose our Unique Selling Point.

And that, I suggest, could really leave us face down on the mat.

Facing the ten count.

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‘We need to make sure all of our children get a good start in life…’ My latest piece for ‘Left Central’

April 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

The following is my latest blog post for ‘Left Central.’

It challenges my fellow Liberal Democrats to challenge Education Secretary Michael Gove’s rightward-lurch when it comes to how our children are educated.

In this piece I also defend the concept of comprehensive education.

Here it is: http://leftcentral.org.uk/2012/04/05/would-you-trust-michael-gove-with-your-child/

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